Legal Status of Anti-Corruption Inquiry prior to FIR Registration

Legal Status of Anti-Corruption Inquiry prior to FIR Registration 22-A, 22-B Cr.PC Anti-Corruption Case Laws Constitutional Law Criminal Law FIR Knowledge - Constitutional Law Knowledge - Criminal Law Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Solutions - Constitutional Law Solutions - Criminal Law Mrs. Justice Erum Sajad Gull in her judgment has decided the issue regarding legal status of anti-corruption inquiry prior to FIR registration in Writ Petition No. 5568 of 2014.

1. Through this writ petition, the petitioner has prayed that the respondent No2 (Circle Officer, Anti-Corruption Establishment, Pakpattan Sharif), respondent No.3 (Director Anti-Corruption Establishment, Sahiwal) and respondent No.4 (Director General Anti-Corruption Establishment, Punjab, Lahore) be directed to register a criminal case against the proposed accused persons in accordance with law and then investigate the matter fairly, honestly and without being influenced by the previous inquiry conducted by the respondents under Rule 6 and 7 of the Anti-Corruption Establishment Rules, 1985.

2. The brief facts giving rise to filing this writ petition are that the petitioner’s mother owned agricultural land in Mauza Mari Hazara Tehsil Arifwala District Pakpattan Sharif which was being cultivated by Akhtar Rasool and Safdar Rasool as tenants and share of the produce was paid to the mother of the petitioner. After the death of the mother of the petitioner Akhtar Rasool and others remained tenants and started giving share of the produce to the petitioner but after lapse of three years they refused to give the share of the produce to the petitioner and declared themselves owners of the land belonging to the petitioner. The petitioner contacted the concerned Patwari who informed him that the land had been alienated in the name of Akhtar Rasool etc through mutation No.516 dated 02.01.1993.

The petitioner then moved an application under section 154 Cr.P.C. to the Anti-Corruption Establishment for the registration of a criminal case against the proposed accused i.e. Akhtar Rasool, Safdar Rasool and Patwari Muhammad Ahmad but did not succeed. After that the petitioner moved an application under sections 22-A and 22-B Cr.P.C. before the learned Additional Sessions Judge/Ex-Officio Justice of Peace, Arifwala/respondent No.1 for registration of a case against the proposed accused which was accepted vide order dated 04.01.2014. Thereafter, the petitioner approached the Circle Officer/respondent No.2 to register a case against the proposed accused in compliance to the order of the Justice of Peace but he refused. The petitioner then moved an application before the learned Ex-Officio Justice of Peace, Arifwala for compliance of the said order. During pendency of the compliance application of the petitioner the respondent No.2/Circle Officer appeared before the learned Justice of Peace and made a statement that version of the petitioner had been recorded and the order of the learned Justice of Peace had been complied with. On the statement of the respondent No.2 the said compliance petition of the petitioner was disposed of by the learned Justice of Peace.

3. Learned counsel for the petitioner has argued that the petitioner moved an application before the learned Justice of Peace on 21.12.2013 which was accepted vide order dated 04.01.2014; that the Anti-Corruption authorities were under an obligation to register a FIR under section 154 Cr.P.C. and an inquiry prior to the registration of the FIR was illegal. Hence, this writ petition be accepted and a criminal case be registered against the proposed accused.

4. The learned Law Officer has stated that after passing of the order dated 04.01.2014 by the learned Justice of Peace, the petitioner had moved an application for compliance of the said order before the learned Justice of Peace in which an order was passed on 23.01.2015 by the learned Justice of Peace stating that statement of the petitioner had been recorded and order passed by the learned Justice of Peace had been complied with; that as the grievance of the petitioner has been redressed hence this writ petition has become infructuous and be dismissed.

5. The officer representing the Anti-Corruption Establishment has stated that the matter was inquired into and vide Zimni No.465-CO-ACE dated 26.08.2015, it has been declared that the allegations levelled by the petitioner have been found to be false.

6. Arguments have been heard and the available record has been perused.

7. In the case in hand the learned Justice of Peace in his order dated 23.01.2014 has mentioned that the Circle Officer, Anti-Corruption Establishment had recorded the statement of the petitioner and the application of the petitioner was disposed of by the Justice of Peace to which the petitioner did not object. Before this Court the petitioner has not challenged the order of the learned Justice of Peace disposing of the compliance petition of the petitioner admittedly at that time FIR had not been registered and only statement of the petitioner was recorded in compliance to the order of the Justice of Peace but the petitioner remained satisfied that his statement was recorded.

8. The Circle Officer, Anti-Corruption Establishment appeared before this court and stated that after recording of the statement of the petitioner, the matter was inquired into as per The Anti-Corruption Establishment Rules, 1985 and the allegations levelled by the petitioner were found to be false hence no FIR was registered against the proposed accused Patwari and the other private persons.

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